Belarus Human Rights and Democracy Dialogue

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 18, 2015

On May 14, U.S. and Belarusian officials met in Washington to discuss human rights, civil society, and democracy. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, Democracy, and Labor Philip Kaplan, and USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Jonathan Katz participated for the United States in meetings with senior Belarusian Foreign Ministry officials, Director-General for Multilateral Diplomacy Yury Ambrazevich and Director for the Americas Oleg Kravchenko, as well as with Belarusian Charge d’Affaires Pavel Shidlovsky.

The topics discussed included both Belarus’ and the United States’ results and recommendations the two countries received during the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of their obligations in the UN Human Rights Council; Belarus’s upcoming presidential elections; our shared OSCE commitments to uphold freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association; and the importance of facilitating space for the development of civil society and independent media in order to build a more secure and prosperous society.

We renewed our call on the Belarusian Government to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and to respect their political rights.

We also called on Belarus to take steps to conduct its upcoming elections in line with the standards of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

The United States is committed to supporting Belarusian sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence, as well as to helping Belarusians build a strong, prosperous, free, and democratic society.